Monday, February 13, 2006

A Busy/Lazy Weekend

I had a busy/lazy weekend. On Saturday, I got up bright and early to drive up to Bonham, a little town not too far south of the Oklahoma border, for a big library event. We must have had nearly 50 people in the audience as a group of authors spoke a little bit about their books and careers, then signed books. Afterward, the library board and romance book club hosted a salad luncheon for us. It was a lot of fun, and I enjoy chatting with readers (and being fed by small-town Texans. Yum.).

I think I may have found the basis and general location for Katie's hometown. That area is about as far as you can get from New York in overall feeling. It's very wide open, on the prairie, and it's really the part of the country where I feel most on top of the world. You may be at a higher elevation in the mountains, but unless you're on the top of the highest mountain, there's something higher than you. On the far north Texas plains, no matter where you are, you feel like you're on the highest point in the world, with the horizon stretching as far as the eye can see. It's the exact opposite of the canyons of the city. It turned out that one of the library board members was from New York, and we chatted about that for a while, the contrasts between New York and that area. I'd allowed for plenty of extra travel time (when you're driving back roads, you never know when you'll end up behind a tractor hauling hay, or if you'll come upon a funeral procession and have to pull over), so I got there really early and took a walk around the town. I'll have to go back when it's warmer. Temperatures in the 40s with wind chills in the 20s and 40 mph gusting winds don't create the ideal environment for wandering and exploring outdoors. That also may not have been the brightest thing I've ever done, especially when I repeated that by exploring the outlet mall I passed on the way home (but it was a really good outlet mall, so I'll have to go back there, too).

Which led to a lazy Sunday because I woke up coughing and with the sniffles. I'm fairly certain it was allergy-related, having more to do with whatever that wind was blowing in from Oklahoma (I figure that anything from Oklahoma is like kryptonite to me, the native Oklahoman who hasn't been there in ages) than with the cold itself. Benadryl cleared it right up, but that necessitates a lazy day because there's no getting anything done when I'm on that stuff. I curled up under the electric blanket on the sofa and got caught up on watching the previous episodes of Bleak House that I'd taped so I could watch the new one Sunday night. Now I'm thoroughly hooked and almost wishing I'd waited to watch it all straight through because I hate having to wait for the next installment. It really is a soap opera. If Dickens were alive today, he'd totally be on the writing staff for As the World Turns. He was all about the mysterious pasts, secret identities, long-suffering heroines, near-fatal illnesses with miraculous recoveries, secret babies, revenge, and the like. I don't think he ever used evil twins, but he at least twice based a plot on the idea that two entirely unrelated people could look so much alike that they were mistaken for each other. Good stuff. It's also fun watching the Parade of Vaguely Familiar British Character Actors in this kind of production, with the Victorian hairstyles and facial hair making identification more challenging.

But now it's back to work. I suspect my editor is snowed in up in New York, but that doesn't mean I get a day off. Time to do a big read-through of the book before sending it to my agent.

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